New here...would like advice, please.

Hi there -

First of all, I’d like to tell you how grateful I am that this forum exists, because it gives me hope. Thank you.

My name is Beth, I’m a 35 year old married Mom to three kids (8,6 and 3). I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was a kid, but was always afraid really “go for it”. I graduated in 1993 with a major in Economics, with a 3.1 GPA, mostly brought down by the Med Pre-Reqs I crammed in during my senior year (darn that organic and physics!)

I actually did take the MCAT in 1993 (7’s on the sciences - 10 in reading) but never actually applied - realizing it was unlikely that I would get in, and not feeling really “ready”. I retrospect, I think I lacked the maturity. After college, I worked in doctor’s offices, and then became a drug rep.

Then I got married, had children…and life goes on. Perhaps I thought I would “get over” this idea of becoming a doctor.

Now at 35, two things have happened: I realize I’m not getting “over it” and my husband’s business has reached a point where it is economically feasible for me to pursue this dream and afford help with the kids.

So here is my first question: I live in an area (45 mins outside of Syracuse) where there is no post-bacc program. I could pursue a second degree in biology to demonstrate aptitude and raise that GPA which would take about two years, full-time. Or, should I just re-take the pre-req’s and a few extras and not worry about the second bachelor’s?

I welcome your wise advice.



Hey Beth,

There are a few things that you will probably need to take into consideration as far as applying to med school again…firstly, I keep seeing it mentioned time and time again that a lot of med schools are either requiring or preferring (a subtle way of requiring imo) that you complete your pre-med reqs within 5-7 years of your application. So in this sense, if a post-bacc program is not an option for you, then I don’t see why pursuing a second degree wouldn’t be a bad idea. If you retook the pre-med reqs and specifically got a degree in a natural science (biology, chemistry, some variation of either or, etc.), I don’t see why that wouldn’t be sufficient to show that your old grades are not representative of who you are now and that you can handle hard science classes.

Plus since you’ll have to retake the MCAT anyway, I would think if you took all the pre-reqs over again, it would help immensely with studying for the MCAT since the material would be fresh in your mind. Obviously this desire isn’t going to go away if it’s still there after those years inbetween so I say go for it!

Hi Beth -

You mention your cumulative GPA, but not your science/math GPA. You may not be able to raise it much no matter what you do, depending on how many credit hours you already had, so it is more a matter of demonstrating aptitude with new, excellent grades in the sciences.

You would probably be fine in just retaking the pre-reqs and a few other courses. As Tim alluded, you may need to retake the pre-reqs due to their age anyways. It’s good refresher for the MCAT, plus biology has changed quite a bit. I don’t know that you NEED to do a second degree. Personally, I think you might be better served by taking upper level courses relevant to medical school than those that fulfill the requirements for another degree, if they are substantially different.

You might consider visiting some admissions offices of schools that you would consider applying to (if they are close) and ask them if they have any preference as to your plan. This might be an especially good idea if you are unable to relocate and are limited to only a few schools.

Welcome to OPM!


Thanks for the advice - I know I need to take the pre-reqs again, both because they’re “stale” and because they’re not great. Mercifully, I only took the prereqs. in college, so there aren’t too many credits to compensate for.

I guess my thought was the second degree (I would go for Biology) would demonstrate a) that I have the aptitude and b) that I could do well in the classes in the context of a (relatively) full course load.

I will be limited to only two schools when I do apply - Albany and Syracuse - with a preference to Syracuse, since it’s closer. I don’t know whyI never thought to contact their Admission office.

God knows I’ll need the refresher for the MCAT’s -but at least it’s offered more frequently now!